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Richard O. Cowan, “The Design, Construction, and duty of the Salt Lake Temple,” inSalt Lake City: The location Which God Prepared,ed. Scott C.Esplinand Kenneth L. Alford (Provo, UT: spiritual Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City:DeseretBook, Salt Lake City, 2011), 47–68.

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Within work of president Brigham Young’s come in the Salt Lake sink in July 1847, the designated the website for the future temple. Together he and also a couple of others were walking throughout the area that sooner or later would be temple Square, the stopped in between the 2 forks of City Creek, win the ground through his cane, and also declared, “Here will certainly be the holy place of our God.” Wilford Woodruff inserted a stake in the ground to note the spot the would come to be the facility of the future building. <1>


As at an early stage as December 23, 1847, an official circular letter from the Twelve invite the Saints come gather and also bring precious metals and other products “for the exaltation . . . The the living and also the dead,” for the time had come to build the Lord’s home “upon the tops of the mountains.” <2> soon afterward, chairman Young called Truman O. Angell Sr. As holy place architect, a short article he would host until his fatality in 1887. His previous work as a timber joiner top top both the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples listed useful background because that his new assignment. That would have an able assistant, william Ward, who received his architectural training in England and was professional in stone construction. (Angell’s suffer was mostly with wood structures.) A skilled draftsman, Ward prepared drawings for the Salt Lake temple under Angell’s direction. <3>

In 1852, men were put to work building a fourteen-foot wall surface of sandstone and adobe roughly the temple block. This no only listed security because that the building and construction site but, like various other projects funded by the Church"s Public functions Department, additionally created worthwhile employed staff for males who otherwise would have actually been idle. <4>

At the general conference the October 1852, chairman Heber C. Kimball, first counselor in the first Presidency, asked the Saints whether they should construct the holy place of sandstone, the adobe, or of “the best stone we can discover in these mountains.” The congregation unanimously voted that “we construct a holy place of the ideal materials that have the right to be furnished in the mountains of phibìc America, and also that the Presidency dictate wherein the stone and other materials shall be obtained.” <5> In the mid-1850s, as soon as deposits that granite were discovered in tiny Cottonwood Canyon twenty mile southeast the Salt Lake City, chairman Young figured out that the temple have to be built of this material. The permanence would be a installation symbol that the eternal covenants to be gone into into there.

The Salt Lake Temple website was committed on February 14, 1853. Throughout the next several weeks, excavation for the holy place proceeded. Cornerstones to be laid top top April 6, the twenty-third anniversary the the Church’s organization. Large stones, measuring approximately two by three by 5 feet, had actually been inserted in practically positions ahead of time. They were of firestone brought from Red Butte Canyon. <6>

On this beautiful feather day in the valley, basic conference convened in the old adobe tabernacle on the southwest corner of the holy place block. Accompanied by army honor guards and the music of 3 bands, a procession headed by Church leader marched to the spot wherein the an initial Presidency and the Patriarch come the Church set the south east cornerstone. <7> president Young climate spoke, explaining the the temple had actually to be constructed in order the the mr “may have actually a place where he can lay his head, and not just spend a night or a day, but find a ar of peace.” <8> The Presiding Bishopric, representing the lesser priesthood, to adjust the southwest cornerstone. The presidency that the high priests, the stake presidency, and the high council then inserted the northwest cornerstone. Finally, the northeast cornerstone to be laid by the Twelve and also representatives that the seventies and the elders. The laying the each stone was accompanied by unique music, speeches, and a prayer.

After a one-hour break, the conference resumed in the old tabernacle. Worrying the future temple, president Young declared:

I scarcely ever say much about revelations, or visions, but suffice it to say, 5 years back last July <1847> i was here, and also saw in the heart the temple not ten feet from wherein we have actually laid the Chief edge Stone. I have actually not inquired what sort of a holy place we must build. Why? due to the fact that it was represented before me. I have actually never looked upon the ground, but the vision of it to be there. I check out it together plainly as if it was in reality before me. Wait until it is done. I will say, however, that it will have actually six towers, to begin with, rather of one. Currently do not any type of of girlfriend apostatize since it will have actually six towers, and Joseph only developed one. The is less complicated for united state to build sixteen, 보다 it was for that to build one. The moment will come as soon as there will be one in the center of holy places we chandelier build, and also on the top, groves and fish ponds. But we chandelier not watch them here, at present. <9>

Some temples constructed in the twenty century, consisting of Hawaii, Idaho Falls, Los Angeles, and also Oakland, would fulfill elements of chairman Young’s prophecy. Also though the Conference Center throughout the street is not a temple, some have actually thought that its rooftop gardens as at the very least a partial fulfillment of this prophecy.

William Ward later defined the resource of the temple’s basic design: “Brigham Young drew upon a slate in the architect’s office a sketch, and said come Truman O. Angell: ‘There will certainly be three towers on the east, representing the President and his 2 counselors; additionally three similar towers on the west representing the Presiding Bishop and his 2 counselors; the towers top top the east the Melchisedek priesthood, those top top the west the Aaronic preisthood. The center towers will be higher than those top top the sides, and also the west towers a little lower than those ~ above the eastern end. The body of the building will be in between these.’” <10>

Because the good temple would certainly not be completed for forty years, temporary facilities needed come be noted where the Saints can receive temple blessings. During the pioneers’ at an early stage years in the Salt Lake Valley, this blessings had actually been given in various places, consisting of the height of Ensign Peak and also Brigham Young’s office. Through 1852, endowments to be being given in the the supervisory board House, located on the southwest edge of what are now South Temple and also Main streets. This facility also accommodated a range of other ecclesiastical and also civic functions, for this reason a separate place was needed where the sacred temple ordinances can be given. The treasure House, a two-story adobe structure specialized in 1855, was located in the northwest corner of holy place Square. It continued to bless the Saints till it to be torn under in 1889 after various other temples to be finished in the an ar and as the Salt Lake holy place itself neared completion. <11>

Meanwhile, the Saints preserved their interest in constructing the temple. In the spring of 1856, Brigham Young sent Truman Angell on a special mission to Europe. Specifically, president Young instructed that to do sketches of necessary architectural works to become better qualified to proceed his work-related on the temple and other buildings. <12>

On July 24, 1857, as the Latter-day Saints were celebrating the tenth anniversary of their entrance right into Salt Lake Valley, they received the latest disturbing news that a perhaps hostile unified States army was draw close Utah. Not understanding the army’s intentions, Brigham Young had actually the temple foundation covered through dirt together a precaution. When the army arrived the complying with year, temple Square looked favor a fresh plowed field, and there was no visible proof of the temple’s construction. Together it turn out, the military marched with Salt Lake City without harming any type of property and collection up that is camp part thirty miles to the southwest, near Utah Lake. Even throughout the years as soon as the military was in Utah, draftsmen in the architect’s office were busy planning the specific size and shape because that each the the hundreds of stones that would be required for the temple. Through the outbreak of the American Civil war in 1861, the army was needed elsewhere, and it departed from Utah by December of the year. The structure was uncovered in ready for work that would resume the following spring. <13>

At this time, chairman Young examined the freshly uncovered foundation and became aware that it was defective. He and also his associates noticed large cracks and also concluded the its little stones held in addition to mortar can not lug the massive weight the the temple. <14> ~ above January 1, 1862, the announced the the inadequate foundation would be removed and also replaced by one made entirely of granite. The footings would be 16 feet thick. “I want to see the Temple constructed in a manner that it will endure with the Millennium,” he later on declared. <15> The job-related of rebuilding the structure moved slowly, and the walls did not reach soil level until the end of the construction season in 1867, fourteen year after the original cornerstones had actually been laid.

Transporting the granite through wagon to holy place Square make a major difficulty to i m sorry the resulting the railroad noted a solution. As soon as the transcontinental railroad to be completed in 1869, a an ext efficient technique of transportation became available. During the early 1870s, monitor of the Utah southern (later component of the Union Pacific) thrust southward toward Utah Valley. Rather than following a direct route, they to be swung come the southeast in order to pass closer to the temple quarry. (Over 125 year later, this exact route would certainly be adhered to by the Trax irradiate rail system.) A connection with downtown streetcar tracks provided direct access to holy place Square. Still, at the moment of president Young’s fatality in 1877, the holy place walls were only twenty feet high, just over the level of the first floor. Thus most the the temple’s building and construction was however to be accomplished, also though twenty-four years of the forty-year building period had already passed. During the next few years, however, with the difficulties of transportation resolved, the pace would accelerate considerably.

Because the building contractors recalled chairman Young’s desire because that this holy place to stand through time, the framework was really solid. Also at your tops, the wall surfaces were six feet thick, and the granite blocks were individually and also skillfully shaped to right snugly together. Practically a century later, Elder note E. Petersen attested to the soundness that the temple’s construction. He was in the temple as soon as a quite severe earthquake hit, damaging numerous buildings about the Salt Lake Valley. “As ns sat over there in that temple I might feel the guide of the quake and that the whole structure groaned.” Afterward, he recalled, the engineers “could not discover one sembleance of damage” almost everywhere in the temple. <16>

Before his death in 1868, chairman Heber C. Kimball had prophesied the “when the walls reached the square, the strength of evil would rage and also the Saints would experience persecution.” <17> This suggest was reached in 1885, when the main walls of the temple, excluding the towers, were completed.

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This to be a time of bitter anti-Mormon persecution, and also Temple Square to be temporarily confiscated through hostile federal government officials. Hence the phase was collection for the anti-Mormon crusade the raged during the 1880s. The Saints’ enemies boasted that the Mormons would never ever be enabled to finish the temple yet that the “Gentiles” would finish the structure for their own purposes. <18> adhering to the abandonment of many marriage, relationships between Mormons and also Gentiles improved. Confiscated properties were returned, and also Utah finally became a state in 1896.

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Fig. 1. Overcome sections the the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples. (Image formerly published in Temples to dot the earth . Provided with permission.)